Time Running Out for the Volkswagen Passat?
Volkswagen bestowed the mildest of refreshes on its midsize Passat for 2020, but you’ll be forgiven if you didn’t notice. These days, people are too busy trying to tell the recently enlarged Jetta apart from its slightly beefier stablemate.
Even the previous Passat’s six-speed automatic carried over for 2020.
With Volkswagen charging ahead (ahem) on electrification, the automaker now admits the current Passat may be the last.
Speaking to Roadshow, Volkswagen of America Chief Operating Officer Johann de Nysschen admitted the company’s present course makes a next-generation, gas-powered Passat unlikely.
“Passat is a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning,” de Nysschen said on the sidelines of this week’s Chicago Auto Show.
“It’s probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, its successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine.”
Whether or not that successor retains the Passat name is an open question. Volkswagen’s dedicated electric MEB platform is said to spawn any number of bodystyles and variants, including higher-end sedans, but those revealed thus far all carry ID-specific nomenclature. The ID Vizzion concept is one such vehicle.
When prodded about naming a follow-up the “Pazzat,” de Nysschen, formerly president of Cadillac, remarked that he does harbor “a preference for weird alphanumerics.”
Introduced for the 2012 model year, the current-gen Passat soldiers on with its outdated platform, having watched most other VWs adopt the company’s newer MQB architecture. As sales decline, VW clearly felt the Passat wasn’t worth investing much money in. That makes the potential nameplate discontinuation unsurprising.
In 2019, Passat sales shrunk 66 percent compared to the year before; in 2018, sales fell 32 percent. A trend is afoot. Best guess for a successor? 2023.
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